The Masons of the York Rite have only the terms "high twelve"
and "low twelve" to designate particular Masonic times, that is
noon and midnight; and in relation to the hours of labor and rest,
they seem to have preserved but one tradition, namely, that Masons
begin to work at six in the morning, are called to refreshment at
high twelve; called on again at an hour past high twelve, and
continue their labour until "low six" or evening.
But some of the Masons of the continent and of the continental
rites have paid more attention to the system of Masonic horometry,
and have formed or invented a variety of terms and legends in
relation to Masonic hours. Among these rites, that of Zinnendorf,
established about the end of the last century in Germany, has some
curious details. The following extract from the ritual is translated
from Lenning's Encyclopeadia of Freemasonry :-
Q- "How many hours are there in a Freemason's Lodge?"
A.- " Five."
Q.- " How are these hours called?"
A. - "Twelve, noon, high noon, midnight and high midnight."
Q.- " When is it twelve ?"
A.- " Before the Lodge is opened and when the Lodge is closed."
Q.- "When is it noon ?"
A.- "When the Master is about to open the Lodge."
Q.- " When is it high noon ?"
A.- " When the Lodge is duly opened."
Q.- "When is it midnight ?"
A.- "When the Master is about to close the Lodge."
Q.- "When is it high midnight ?"
A.- "When the Lodge is closed and the profane are allowed to
Q.- "How many consecutive hours do Freemasons work in their
A.- "Three hours."
Q.- "What are these three hours?"
A.- "Noon., high noon and midnight."
Q.- "What are the hours when Freemasons do not work ?"
A.- "Twelve and high midnight"
There are other divisions into Masonic weeks and years, but what
has been given above is enough to show the care with which
Masonic symbolism is cultivated among these philosophical rites,
for all these answers are of course allegorical and symbolical.- One
more answer in this catechism of the Zinnendorf ritual may
conclude this paragraph, as it is highly suggestive of a deep
religious truth.
Q.- "How long is a Mason's day?"
A.- "From the beginning of the year to the end."
And so, indeed, it is. The work of a true Mason is never done, - his
day of labor never ends, - and at all hours and in all seasons, his
task still goes nobly on for the search, - the untiring search after
knowledge must be ever employing him, from week to week, from
month to month, and from year to year, until days, weeks, and
months and years, shall all have passed away, and life ends with
the search still.
I think we are warranted in contending that a society thus constituted,
and which may be rendered so admirable an engine of improvement, far
from meriting reproach, deserves highly of the community. EV. DR. MILNE.